In his sixth annual Easter Sunday Urbi et Orbi (to the city and the world) address given before thousands of Catholics in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Pope Francis referred to the recent violence on Israel’s border with Gaza saying  “reconciliation for the Holy Land, also experiencing in these days the wounds of ongoing conflict that do not spare the defenseless.”

The Pope seemed to be referring to the casualties that resulted from riots last Friday when 30,000 Gazans protested along Israel’s southern border. Many of the protesters rushed at the security fence, throwing rocks, firebombs, and burning tires. 17 Palestinians were killed in confrontations with IDF troops. It was later revealed the at least ten of the casualties were known Hamas and jihadist military.

The Pope also called for peace for “the entire world, beginning with the beloved and long-suffering land of Syria, whose people are worn down by an apparently endless war.”

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“This Easter, may the light of [Jesus]  illumine the consciences of all political and military leaders, so that a swift end may be brought to the carnage in course … ” he said.

The Pope also called for the world to aid Venezuela in its economic and political crisis, and wished success for the “fruits of dialogue” between North and South Korea.

He prayed that the power of the Bible “bears fruits of hope and dignity where there are deprivation and exclusion, hunger and unemployment, where there are migrants and refugees; so often rejected by today’s culture of waste. And victims of the drug trade, human trafficking and contemporary forms of slavery.”

Pope Francis has shown a distinctly pro-Palestinian bias in the past, referring to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas as “an angel of peace.” Abbas, who wrote his doctoral thesis in a Russian University denying the Holocaust occurred, has been criticized by both the US and Israel for inciting violence and paying terrorists for attacking Jews.

In February, the Pontiff met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to discuss Jerusalem. They both criticized President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. At the meeting, the Pope presented Erdogan with an “angel of peace” on a bronze medallion, that is seen embracing the northern and southern hemispheres while overcoming a dragon, similar to a medallion the Pope presented to Abbas in 2015. Not long after being dubbed an angel of peace, Erdogan called on the 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to form a joint “Army of Islam” to besiege and attack the state of Israel.

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Source: Israel in the News